NCF Nation: Bowl projections 091129

Big 12 should have orderly bowl-selection process

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
1:49
PM ET

The Big 12’s bowl picture appears to have cleared up after the final weekend of regular-season games.

With eight bowl-eligible teams and eight bowl slots, it appears to be in perfect symmetry.

That is, unless Nebraska upsets Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday.

Oklahoma State’s BCS at-large hopes have been snuffed out after the Cowboys’ loss at Oklahoma. The Big 12 likely won’t have two teams in the BCS this season unless Nebraska beats Texas. The Cornhuskers then would qualify for the Big 12’s automatic slot in the Fiesta Bowl and the Longhorns would be directed to another BCS bowl as an at-large team. It would also mean that the Independence Bowl likely would not have a Big 12 team and would have to look elsewhere.

But if Texas wins as expected, it will make for an orderly selection process where the conference can satisfy all of its partners.

Heading into Big 12 championship week, here’s how I see the bowls shaking out.
  • Citi BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports, Pasadena, Calif. -- Texas vs. BCS team
  • AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2, 2 p.m., FOX Sports, Arlington, Texas -- Oklahoma State vs. SEC team
  • Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN, San Diego -- Nebraska vs. Pac-10 team
  • Valero Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2, 9 p.m., ESPN, San Antonio – Texas Tech vs. Big Ten team
  • Brut Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS, El Paso, Texas -- Oklahoma vs. Pac-10 team
  • Insight Bowl, Dec. 31, 6 p.m., NFL Network, Tempe, Ariz. – Missouri vs. Big Ten team
  • Texas Bowl, Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m., ESPN, Houston -- Texas A&M vs. Navy
  • Independence Bowl, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., ESPN, Shreveport, La. -- Iowa State vs. SEC

For a look at our complete bowl schedule, follow this link.

And for a look at how our bowl gurus Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman are projecting bowls this week, go to this link.

Non-AQ bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
1:40
PM ET
Most of the bowls are set now that the regular season is over for almost all of the non-AQ teams. There will be some shuffling in Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference, but that should be minimal.

I’m holding on to my assertion -- which I’ve had all year -- that TCU and Boise State would both be in a BCS bowl. I have the Broncos in the Orange Bowl because they will bring fans. TCU will bring fewer fans, but the Fiesta Bowl doesn’t have trouble selling out like the Orange Bowl does. It might depend on the matchup, but I’m sticking with that for now. I think these are the only two BCS bowls in play, so at most the teams will flip-flop.

Currently, there is just one 7-5 non-AQ team without a bowl -- Bowling Green. It should get an at-large berth, though some of it depends on what Notre Dame decides to do.

There is one wildcard remaining in the bowl picture -- Hawaii. The Warriors defeated Navy on Saturday and if they get past Wisconsin, they will play in the Hawaii Bowl against SMU. It’s a longshot, but it’s out there. If Hawaii finishes 6-7, they won’t be going to a bowl.

NATIONAL

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: TCU vs. BCS

FedEx Orange Bowl: Boise State vs. BCS

CONFERENCE USA

Liberty Bowl: Houston vs. SEC

Hawaii Bowl: SMU vs. WAC

Armed Forces Bowl: East Carolina vs. MWC

New Orleans Bowl: Marshall vs. Sun Belt

St. Petersburg Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Big East (Sun Belt)

EagleBank Bowl: Central Florida vs. At-Large

INDEPENDENTS

Texas Bowl: Navy vs. Big 12

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Big Ten

GMAC Bowl: Central Michigan vs. ACC

International Bowl: Temple vs. Big East

EagleBank Bowl: Ohio vs. C-USA

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Utah vs. Pac-10

Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. Pac-10

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. C-USA

New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming vs. WAC

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. C-USA

St. Petersburg Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. C-USA

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Humanitarian Bowl: Idaho vs. At-Large

New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. MWC

Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. C-USA

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
1:28
PM ET
UCLA (6-6) may slip into a bowl game but its situation is precarious.

This is the best primer I've seen on where things stand with potential at-large berths in bowl games. Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Middle-Tennessee each have to be selected before the Bruins because they own winning records, and there appear to be only five open spots.

Because Stanford beat Notre Dame, the Gator Bowl will be a Big East game. That means all six bowl-eligible Big East teams will play in contracted bowls, so that's one less at-large team ahead of UCLA.

Ah, but that also puts the Fighting Irish (6-6) in the middle of this. Even with the likely firing of Charlie Weis, Notre Dame's national standing is appealing. The Irish likely would be picked ahead of the Bruins, but it's also possible Notre Dame would take a pass on a middling bowl game. This projection has UCLA going to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala, for that very reason.

A bowl can only select a 6-6 team for an at-large berth after all winning teams have been accounted for.

That means UCLA fans wanting a bowl berth should root for Wisconsin over Hawaii on Saturday.

And then cross your fingers.

As for our projections, there are no changes from last week. I'm sticking with UCLA in the Humanitarian Bowl because it seems like the most humane choice for the bowl, but know that it appears I am alone projecting this. So, I'm probably wrong.

Here's a handy bowl schedule. And other bowl projections.
  • Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi: Oregon vs. Big Ten
  • Pacific Life Holiday: USC vs. Big 12
  • Brut Sun: California vs. Big 12/Big East/Notre Dame
  • Emerald: Stanford vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: Oregon State vs. Mountain West
  • San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia: Arizona vs. Mountain West
  • Roady's Humanitarian: UCLA vs. WAC

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 14

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
1:04
PM ET
The Big Ten received a major BCS boost Saturday afternoon, as Oklahoma crushed Oklahoma State to take the Cowboys out of the at-large mix.

It would now take an unlikely event or two, namely Texas losing in the Big 12 championship game, to prevent the Big Ten from receiving an at-large BCS berth for the fifth consecutive season. Iowa and Penn State can feel very good about their chances, though only one team can join Ohio State in the big bowls. The debate over these two squads continues, but I still give the edge to Iowa in my projections. I'd be surprised if the Fiesta Bowl passes up the Hawkeyes after losing Texas to the national title game.

The Outback Bowl could have an interesting decision between Wisconsin and Northwestern, especially if the Badgers lose this week at Hawaii. Northwestern owns the head-to-head victory on Nov. 21, but Wisconsin boasts a larger fan base. Then again, Badgers fans could be sick of Florida bowl games and those fans heading to Hawaii might end up staying home for the postseason.

Check out the full bowl schedule as well as ESPN.com's bowl projections (updated Sunday afternoon).

Bowl-eligible teams: Iowa (10-2), Ohio State (10-2), Penn State (10-2), Wisconsin (8-3), Northwestern (8-4), Michigan State (6-6), Minnesota (6-6)

Eliminated: Michigan (5-7) Purdue (5-7), Indiana (4-8), Illinois (3-8)

Here's how I see things shaking out:
  • Rose Bowl game presented by Citi: Ohio State vs. Oregon/Oregon State
  • Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Iowa vs. BCS team
  • Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs. SEC team
  • Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. SEC team
  • Champs Sports Bowl: Northwestern vs. ACC team
  • Valero Alamo Bowl: Michigan State vs. Big 12 team
  • Insight Bowl: Minnesota vs. Big 12 team

Once again, the Big Ten won't fill its tie-in to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (formerly Motor City Bowl).

Big East bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
1:03
PM ET
While the Gator Bowl is now officially a Big East bowl, there's still a lot to be settled in the league's postseason lineup.

The BCS bid is on the line, of course, this Saturday. You can tell who I'm leaning toward picking right now in my projections, though I reserve the right to change my mind before Thursday. If Pitt loses, it could fall to the Meineke Car Care Bowl and watch West Virginia zoom ahead of it for the Gator.

The other three spots are just as much in flux, though I see little way that UConn goes to the International Bowl. The Huskies not only went there last year but could be facing Ohio as the opponent in that game, and the two teams met earlier this year. Rutgers is the only team that makes any geographic sense for that game at this point.

Without further ado, here are my latest projections:

Sugar: Cincinnati vs. BCS
Gator: West Virginia vs. ACC
Meineke Car Care: Pitt vs. ACC
Papajohns.com: South Florida vs. SEC
International: Rutgers vs. MAC
St. Petersburg: Connecticut vs. C-USA

Here's the complete bowl schedule. And here are complete bowl projections from colleagues Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman.

SEC bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
12:49
PM ET
We know now for sure the SEC will get two teams in the BCS.

The winner of the SEC championship game will go to Pasadena to play in the BCS National Championship Game, and the loser will go to New Orleans to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

But a wild final week of the regular season left the rest of the bowls scrambling.

Ole Miss’ upset loss to Mississippi State was LSU’s gain. The Tigers rallied to beat Arkansas in overtime, and as the SEC’s highest ranked team, will likely head to the Capital One Bowl.

After that, it really gets interesting.

There could be a swap of sorts in play with the Outback Bowl and Cotton Bowl.

The Outback gets first choice out of the East and the Cotton first choice out of the West after the Capital One selects. But since Ole Miss went to the Cotton Bowl last year, there may be a deal worked out where the Rebels go to the Outback this year and Tennessee to the Cotton. The Vols finished in a tie with Georgia for second place in the East, but beat the Bulldogs head-to-head.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl also has a tough choice. South Carolina became a lot more attractive with its win over Clemson. But with Georgia beating Georgia Tech, there will be a lot of pressure to keep the Bulldogs close to home there in Atlanta. Plus, Georgia beat South Carolina head-to-head and finished a game better than the Gamecocks in the SEC standings.

Here’s the way I see the bowl lineup shaking out heading into this weekend’s SEC championship game:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. BCS team

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Big Ten team

Outback Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Big Ten team

Cotton Bowl: Tennessee vs. Big 12 team

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. ACC team

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: South Carolina vs. ACC team

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Conference USA team

Advocare Independence Bowl: Auburn vs. Big 12 team

Papajohns.com Bowl: Kentucky vs. Big East team

ACC bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
11:45
AM ET
If this past weekend’s nonconference games were any indication of what’s to come in the bowl games, the ACC might be better off having its own Backyard Brawl this year. With only seven bowl eligible teams, the ACC needs a winning record to earn some respectability at the national level.

UNC’s loss likely ruined its chance at a better bowl game, while Miami became a more attractive pick with its nine-win season and could wind up in the Gator Bowl. At this point, there are still a lot of options on the table, depending upon who wins the ACC championship game.

Whichever team loses will be on a two-game losing streak heading into bowl season, and could fall as low as the Music City Bowl in the selection process. It’s a toss-up as to who will wind up in the Orange Bowl, but one thing is for sure -- Georgia Tech’s defense isn’t as good as South Carolina’s, so the Tigers should have more success offensively in the title game. That being said, I have no idea who's going to win that game.

Here are the latest bowl projections for the ACC:

FedEx Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. BCS at large

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. SEC

Gator Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Big East or Notre Dame

Champs Sports Bowl: Miami vs. Big Ten

Music City Bowl: North Carolina vs. SEC

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Florida State vs. Big East

Emerald Bowl: Boston College vs. Pac-10

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